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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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Dermatology Online Journal is an open-access, refereed publication intended to meet reference and education needs of the international dermatology community since 1995. Dermatology Online Journal is supported by the Department of Dermatology UC Davis, and by the Northern California Veterans Administration.

Volume 21, Issue 6, 2015


Non-tuberculous mycobacterium skin infections after tattooing in healthy individuals: A systematic review of case reports

In recent years, several case reports and outbreaks reported occurrence of non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections within 6 months after receiving a tattoo in healthy individuals. NTM species (e.g., Chelonae, Fortuitum, Hemophillum, and Abscessus) are widespread in the environment and it is often suspected that contamination may occur through unsterile instrumentation or unsterile water used for diluting tattoo ink to dilute color. In reported cases, lesions were mainly restricted to a single color ‘gray’ part of the tattoo. Mycobacterium Chelonae was the most common cause of tattoo associated NTM infections. Less than 50% of the case reports tested tattoo ink for acid fast bacilli stains and cultures. Subjects required treatment with either clarithromycin alone or in combination with quinolones for 6 to 9 months. An increase in NTM skin infections in healthy individuals after tattooing indicates the need for sterile standards during tattooing and improved local and regional regulatory oversight.


The association of the sebum excretion rate with melasma, erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, and rhytides

Background: Rosacea and melasma are two common skin conditions in dermatology. Both conditions have a predilection for the centrofacial region where the sebaceous gland density is the highest. However it is not known if sebaceous function has an association with these conditions.

Aims and Objectives: We aimed to assess the relationship between facial glabellar wrinkle severity and facial sebum excretion rate for individuals with rosacea, melasma, both conditions, and in those with rhytides. Secondly, the purpose of this study was to utilize high resolution 3D facial modeling and measurement technology to obtain information regarding glabellar rhytid count and severity.

Materials and Methods: A total of 21 subjects participated in the study. Subjects were divided into four groups based on facial features: rosacea-only, melasma-only, rosacea and melasma, rhytides-only. A high resolution facial photograph was taken followed by measurement of facial sebum excretion rate (SER).

Results: The SER was found to decline with age and with the presence of melasma. The SER negatively correlated with increasing Wrinkle Severity Rating Scale. Through the use of 3D facial modeling and skin analysis technology, we found a positive correlation between clinically based grading scores and computer generated glabellar rhytid count and severity.

Conclusion: Continuing research with facial modeling and measurement systems will allow for development of more objective facial assessments. Future studies need to assess the role of technology in stratifying the severity and subtypes of rosacea and melasma. Furthermore, the role of sebaceous regulation may have important implications in photoaging.


How to reduce out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications

The cost of prescription medicines has recently been rising faster than other healthcare costs.  This is also true for traditionally inexpensive generic medications that have long served as a fundamental healthcare safety net in the USA.  These changes increasingly present challenges for individuals to obtain common medications.  Owing to rising insurance co-pays, even patients who have prescription medication insurance coverage are beginning to experience challenges in this area.  This document was created to help patients and their families consider various strategies and programs that exist in 2015 for reducing their out-of-pocket costs for their prescription medications.  We believe that this information can also be helpful to healthcare providers when counseling patients about managing rapidly rising prescription drug costs.  An effort has been made to make this document readable to patients and their families as well as to healthcare providers.

Defining intrinsic vs. extrinsic atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, relapsing inflammatory skin condition characterized by eczematous lesions, i.e. ill-demarcated erythematous patches and plaques. AD is commonly associated with elevated immunoglobulin E (IgE) and atopic disorders, such as asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. Rackemann and Mallory were some of the first to distinguish between asthma based on the presence (“extrinsic”) or absence (“intrinsic”) of allergy. This distinction has subsequently been applied to AD based on the presence (“extrinsic”) or absence (“intrinsic”) of increased IgE and atopic disease. Although the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic AD is widely used, it remains controversial.

Surgical Pearl

Understanding the logic of common suturing techniques in dermatologic surgery

Although most trainees in dermatology learn that different suturing techniques are designated for a specific purpose (i.e., certain functional and cosmetic outcomes), students often have a difficult time visualizing how a given suture functions in its designated capacity. In this article, we address the logic behind the most common suturing techniques in dermatologic surgery, including the direction and magnitude of their pulling force with respect to the wound edges and the ensuing displacement of dermal and epidermal structures. To aid better understanding, we diagram the vectors of suture force with each of the techniques discussed.

Case Report

Sclerodermoid lesions in a patient with multiple transplants and porphyria cutanea tarda

Patients with chronic graft versus host disease may exhibit a range of sclerotic features. Herein we present a patient with confirmed porphyria cutanea tarda who subsequently developed chronic graft versus host disease.

Case Presentation

Pink plaque on the arm of a man after a trip to Mexico: cutaneous leishmaniasis

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a parasitic infection caused by protozoa of the Leishmania genus that presents as asymptomatic pink papules that may ulcerate. There are several species of Leishmania found in 98 endemic countries and whereas all are associated with cutaneous disease, only specific species can cause mucocutaneous or visceral disease. Although the diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis can be confirmed with Giemsa staining of a biopsy or “touch prep” specimen, only speciation at specialized centers such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can determine the risk of mucocutaneous or visceral disease. Treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis is varied and depends on the extent of cutaneous disease and the risk of mucocutaneous or visceral disease.

Tender, necrotic plaques of the glans penis due to calciphylaxis

Calciphylaxis, also known as calcific uremic arteriolopathy, is a rare, but often fatal condition involving vascular calcification that can result in tissue ischemia and cutaneous necrosis. It is most often seen in patients with renal failure among many other occasionally reported etiologies. Below, we present a rare and challenging case of calciphylaxis involving the glans penis and right leg in a man with end stage renal disease on hemodialysis.

Repigmentation of hair following adalimumab therapy

Repigmentation of canities, or age-related grey or white hair, is a rare occurrence. Generalized repigmentation of grey-white hair has been reported following inflammatory processes,[1] and heterochromia (localized patches of hair repigmentation) is even more unusual, reported in association with medication use and malignancy.Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors are increasingly utilized medications for inflammatory disorders, including psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Hair loss, or alopecia, has been described among the side effects of these medications,[2] but changes in hair pigmentation in association with this class of drugs have not previously been reported. We describe a patient with hair repigmentation associated with adalimumab therapy.

A case of self-healing juvenile cutaneous mucinosis

Importance: Self-healing juvenile cutaneous mucinosis is a very rare, self-limiting disease characterized by the abrupt onset of asymptomatic papules and nodules located primarily on the face and periarticular regions of a juvenile patient. There have been less than 20 cases reported since it was first described in 1973.

Observations: Most cases have been reported in children 15 years and younger. Herein we present a case affecting a 17-year-old. To our knowledge, this the oldest reported patient with this condition in the USA.

Conclusions and Relevance: Despite the rarity of this disease, it is important to keep SHJCM on the differential in pediatric patients presenting with proliferating papules and nodules. Knowledge of this entity may prevent unnecessary diagnostic testing and aggressive treatment in the pediatric population with this self-limited disease.

Post-radiation atypical vascular proliferation on the head of a young woman: a diagnostic challenge

With improved outcomes associated with radiotherapy (RT), post-irradiation tumors are increasingly seen in long-term cancer survivors. We report a case of a young woman who presented with a three-year history of a vascular lesion on the temple, previously irradiated for a childhood brain tumor. The history of radiation, the clinical appearance, and the biopsy findings of an atypical vascular proliferation in the dermis, were worrisome for a malignant vascular neoplasm and prompted surgical excision. However, further tissue analysis of the excised specimen confirmed a benign atypical vascular lesion (AVL) overlying a banal pilar cyst. Distinguishing post-radiation benign from malignant vascular lesions can be difficult because they share overlapping clinical and histopathologic features. Thus, any vascular lesion that occurs in a previously irradiated field should be excised completely with tumor-free margins and examined histologically.

A case of Graham-Little–Piccardi–Lasseur syndrome

Graham-Little–Piccardi–Lasseur Syndrome (GLPLS) is a variant of lichen planopilaris, which is characterized by progressive cicatricial alopecia of scalp, non-cicatricial alopecia of axillae and pubic regions, and keratosis pilaris-like follicular papules over trunk and extremities. GLPLS is a disease of unknown etiology. However, recent reports support a central role for a T-cell-mediated immune response in the pathogenesis of GLPLS. Besides, although GLPLS is believed to occur sporadically, a genetic predisposition also has been implicated in the pathogenesis. On the other hand, GLPLS typically affects middle-aged women, particularly of the postmenopausal age group. A diagnosis of GLPLS is generally apparent with the presence of characteristic findings in a postmenopausal woman. Herein, we report a case of GLPLS in a 75-year-old woman with the typical triad of alopecia of the scalp, non-cicatricial alopecia of axillae and pubis, and a follicular keratotic eruption on the trunk.

Photo Vignette

Aquagenic palmar wrinkling in two Indian patients with special reference to its dermoscopic pattern Sudip Kumar

Aquagenic palmar wrinkling (APW), synonymously known as aquagenic syringeal acrokeratoderma, transient aquagenic palmar hyperwrinkling, aquagenic palmoplantar keratoderma, or transient reactive papulotranslucent acrokeratoderma, is a distinctive dermatosis characterized by whitish papules, excessive wrinkling, and possible desquamation of the palms and/or soles after immersion into water for a short time[1-5]. We describe herein two cases of aquagenic palmar wrinkling in Indian patients with special reference to its dermoscopic pattern. Since its initial description, only a few cases of APW have been described in literature. To the best of our knowledge, APW is a hitherto unreported condition in Indian population.

Embedded tooth fragment masquerading as keloid for 11 months

A foreign body retained in the skin can originate from numerous sources and most of the time these foreign bodies are removed without any sequelae. The present article reports a case of persistent swelling in the lower lip misdiagnosed as keloid, which later turned out to be an embedded tooth fragment identified post spontaneous extrusion after 11 months.

Red-white and blue baby: a case of phacomatosis pigmentovascularis type V

Phacomatosis pigmentovascularis is a rare genodermatosis characterized by the combination of an extensive pigmentary nevus with a widespread vascular nevus. The coexistence of aberrant dermal melanocytosis and cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita has been termed phacomatosis pigmentovascularis type V or phacomatosis cesiomarmorata. Phacomatosis pigmentovascularis type V was first described in a 3-month-old boy in 2000. Since then, there have been a further seven cases published in the literature.


Apremilast and adalimumab: a novel combination therapy for recalcitrant psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory condition that affects 2-3% of the population. Apremilast was FDA-approved in March 2014 for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis and in September 2014 for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Apremilast appears to have lower efficacy than some biologic agents such as adalimumab and ustekinumab, which achieve a PASI-75 in approximately 70% of patients after 12-16 weeks of therapy. However, its ease of administration as an oral agent coupled with a mild side effect profile make it an attractive option for psoriasis treatment. Herein, we present a patient with a 17-year history of plaque type psoriasis recalcitrant to topical, oral, and biologic mediations who attained near-complete remission after therapy with a combination of adalimumab and apremilast.

Overcalling a teledermatology selfie: a new twist in a growing field

Teledermatology via patient-generated digital images or “selfies” has been increasing since the advent of portable devices capable of high resolution image capture. During these early days, doctors and patients are learning about uses and limitations. We describe a case in which a patient's selfie led three attending physicians to suspect an iatrogenic hematoma requiring urgent assessment. There was no hematoma at follow up, simply dark and smooth adherent crust, which was gently removed to reveal a well-healing wound. This case introduces a previously undescribed teledermatology-related issue, that of “overcalling” a selfie. An image supplied by a patient misleadingly appeared to show a serious complication requiring urgent treatment.

Pachydermoperiostosis and bladder cancer

Pachydermoperiostosis or the Touraine-Soulente-Golé syndrome is a rare monogenetic disorder characterized by pachydermia, periostosis and digital clubbing accounts for approximately 3∼5% of all patients with hypertrophic osteoarthropathy. Missense mutations in SLCO2A1 and HPGD genes could plausibly underlie the pathogenesis of pachydermoperiostosis. Patients have usually a favorable outcome with very few cases associated with cancer. Herein, we report the first case of a patient with pachydermoperiostosis associated with bladder cancer.

Melanoma in situ or superficial basal cell carcinoma?

Dermoscopy is a non-invasive, in vivo technique that increases accuracy in the diagnosis of both melanocytic and non-melanocytic skin tumors. A 74-year-old woman presented with a 3-year history of a slow-growing, asymptomatic, slightly pigmented plaque on the back. The dermoscopic differential diagnosis of melanoma in situ versus superficial basal cell carcinoma is discussed, based on the presentation of peripheral brown irregular finger-like projections. These were also associated with peripheral fine short telangiectasias, shiny white to red structureless areas, a few brown globules, and small erosions. Histopathological examination confirmed the diagnosis of superficial pigmented basal cell carcinoma. A brief review of the dermoscopic structures associated with this common nonmelanocytic skin tumor is also made.